Holiday Gift Ideas (& Wrapping Tips) for the Women in Your Life

YIN

Tis the season for giving. And giving. And giving. Doesn’t it seem like you always need an extra gift for someone who shows up with a family member or for a hostess gift when you attend a party? My grandmother used to keep extra pairs of men’s socks on hand just in case one of my great uncles brought over a male friend for Christmas dinner. While you probably won’t want to keep socks on hand (that was in the 40’s and 50’s), it is a good idea to keep some soaps or treats on hand and wrapped because you never know who will pop in.

I like to give things that people will use and enjoy and not give them something just because I found it on sale. And now that I’m a mom I enjoy getting gifts that aren’t child oriented (picture frames and such) because I already have those things and sometimes Mommy wants something just for her. Here are my picks of inexpensive items that aren’t cheap, are great for women (and aren’t child related) and will make the receiver very thankful (Full Disclosure – I work for one of the companies listed below, but I would have listed their item anyway because I really do like it):

Origins Peace of Mind: Stressed out? A few dabs of Peace of Mind will help you relax and get into a peaceful zone. Great for your desk or in a diaper bag. And it’s only $10.

Whole Foods Market: Whole Foods has great gifts for under $10. Two of my favorites are a FEED 100 bag, where the money helps to feed hungry children in Rwanda, and their chocolate truffles.

Red Envelope: They carry a faux leather wristlet for $24.95. Perfect for the sister or friend who doesn’t like to carry a large handbag.

Pier 1: Pier 1 has some great stone bracelets that work for women with a style all their own. They come in different colors and are $12 or $15 each.

Gift Card: I know that some say gift cards are impersonal but I’d rather get a gift card and pick out what I want or need than receive something that I can’t use. Pick one to her favorite store or if you’re keeping presents around “just in case” a gift card to Starbucks, Target or Barnes & Noble come in handy and fit almost all personalities.

Yankee Candle Company: Candles from this company can be a little higher priced than other places, but they smell wonderful lit or unlit and their jars don’t overheat so you don’t have to worry about them scorching your table or breaking from the heat. And right now they’re having a buy one candle at full price, get the second one at 50% off sale. Perfect for two of your friends.

Philosophy Skin Care: Philosophy has a mini holiday lip shine set for $15. With all the kisses that happen over the holidays, we always need to touch up our lipstick!

YANG

Aw, how very thoughtful of Yin’s Grandma! Although I admit I laughed about handing out socks, I commend her for actually having on hand some extra gifts for those drop-ins during the holidays (and since men hardly buy their own socks, socks are good for them!). Yin Mama has a terrific assortment of hostess gifts, so rather than add to that, I thought I touch on the other half of gift-giving–the presentation. After all, presentation is half the battle, they say! (Side note: My father is the master of gift presentation–for instance, he built an actual fruit tree, complete with real fruit and little tree frogs, to wrap his granddaughter’s stuffed blue bird!)

Here are some fun ideas that can touch up little gifts, bring some humor to it all, or just make it a novel presentation.

Wine: Wine given in a wine bag or sock is very pretty, but why not add a laugh to it (if you know the hostess well enough, of course) and wrap the wine in a funky dish washing glove! A busy hostess will need both after throwing a major party.  

CDs & Books: Both of these are pretty hard to conceal; I mean, you know you’re getting a CD or a book right away, you just don’t know what kind. To make the presentation more interesting, wrap the items in paper, but tie up with new ear buds or tape an assortment of bookmarks to the book package.

Plants & Flowers: First, let me just say that while flowers are a wonderful gift, if they’re not already in a vase, they become a pain in the neck, esp if a party is at hand. So please, have flowers already in a vase or plants already in a pot! To jazz them up, why not tie a lovely spring scarf around the base of a potted plant or wind around the vase.

Hand Lotions & Gels: Pretty smelling lotions and hand-sanitizing gels are a must and you can never have enough. Plus, travel-sized items  are the perfect fit to toss into a purse.  So why not toss some into a new purse for your hostess!

Homemade Baked Goods: Depending on what type of treats you bring, there are hundreds of ways to wrap them. Wrap foodie items with a pretty new dishtowel. Perhaps the dishtowel even has a motif that corresponds to the treats you’re bringing, like ginger bread cookies or cupcakes. Alternatively, put treats inside a cute lunchbox!

Candles: Like CDs and books, candles are hard to wrap and usually end up in gift bags. To jazz it up a little, why not use an inexpensive wicker basket and place several candles of different scents and sizes inside, using pine cones and branches as a decorative base.

Gift Cards: Instead of slipping the gift card inside an envelope, why not put it into a small stocking, or taping it to the bottom of a box of chocolates (Godiva!) Just make sure you tell your hostess to look underneath! Another idea is to tape various hard candies (still in their wrapping) to the card, such as mints and lollipops.

One last idea–we use a lot of bows and ribbons to tie off our gifts. But ot make them more personal, I add inexpensive tree ornaments that correspond to the gift itself, or just look good against the background of the wrapping paper.

Just remember, when all is said and done, “it’s not the gift that matters, but the thought that counts.” And if it’s not enjoyable to do, don’t!

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